I’ve always been a little skeptical about the typical events for entrepreneurs.
In my humble experience I had the opportunity to be selected in a program for entrepreneurs and thereafter, to learn about the ecosystem of incubators, accelerators, conferences and other events geared towards this sector.
Later, I was offered the opportunity to work in this sector and understand how everything works from within.
Many speakers giving speeches as if they were high achievers and they really have no more than a couple of thousand euros in their current account, trying to survive giving courses and presentations for some hundred euros while they last living by their tale of the entrepreneurial guru.
Many companies hunting young novices to offer them their services: loans, coaching, design, websites, consulting, marketing, insurances, training, coworking spaces… Trying to suck their blood out until these dreamers run out of funds or illusion. If they do well, even better, more blood to suck. If not, next event to look for fresh meet.
Many people kissing butts to institutions or criticizing them depending on who they are talking with.
Many tricks. Many pictures and publications on press just to put on a show.
Many convenient people cosying up to other convenient people, many favors to be returned or in the future.
Much looking over the shoulders or flattering depending on what say your credentials.
In conclusion, a lot of plastic, a lot of money involved. A godsent business which came to Spain in crisis and that has growed rapidly in this worldwide emerging sector.
But many good things too.
South Summit brought presentations of giant companies like Google, Microsoft, Amazon, Ford and Telefonica plus winners like Linkedin, Bla, Amadeus, Zipcar, Atari or Lenovo, which also spanish benchmarks as Cabify, Uber, Room Mate Hotels, Fever, Wallapop, Minube or Hawkers. A luxury. A real Summit.
Summit means the top, and that was: an event where many relevant entrepreneurs gathered to dedicate a few words to a tribe, a growing social phenomenon of which I feel part.
A meeting where I witnessed motivational speeches, tips worth gold, clean looks and sincere smiles where positive energy was radiating everywhere.
Something ideal for all dreamers at La N@ve in Villaverde, an impressive and ideal space for the event, indeed.
I was delighted with Zipcar’s Robin Chase and Paris L’Etraz from Venture Lab. Elegance, I can not describe it otherwise. I never forgive myself missing Nolan Bushnell’s speech, from Atari.
On the other hand, Kike Sarasola was the beast, an insane communicator who won my sympathy when he said a couple of truths that we all know but no one admits.
It was cool to meet Eloy from Mr. Jeff, entrepreneur on his path to success that is about to achieve his dream (I think he as done it already). I met him at the Bbooster Week held in Las Palmas last May along with other amazing guys as Sunil from Beroomers, Juan from Tutellus and Vicente from A Boat Time.
We agreed to meet later for a drink but at the last moment he told me to meet in a Google party at the Casino de Madrid roof.
He didn’t know I had no invitation and neither was in list but you already know how I like challenges, so I made use of some resources of my past as a secret agent in another life.
At that party everyone was cool, all VIP people, everyone had something interesting. And I wouldn’t be less.
I was the mysterious asian guy who looked like an investor or businessman (LoL) the people approached to, intrigued and saying “Hello, where are you from?” And then I smiled and answered my canarian spanish accent: “Hey, que pasó mi niño? I am from Guanarteme, what should I do to get a drink?“.
I had fun and I met very interesting people but I retired early because I had work for the next day.
Returning to the Summit, I was struck by the large number of accelerators that want to enter in the game. From an important lawyer office to a legendary brand of whiskey. From a powerful national construction company to the largest multinational shipping enterprise. Now all of them have an accelerator, now they all support entrepreneurs, but … Do they really want to help?
Actually, I think they invest on you to grow together when the hard part is done, when you just need the final push. You know when the big fish eats the small fish to not let it grow enough, to avoid cases like Facebook with Whatsapp.
However, winning a contest of entrepreneurs does not guarantee the success of the project idea. It is just another step in the race to success.
The path of an entrepreneur is hard and lonely. Many will know what I mean, because no one sees that part of the game. Not every day you stand on a stage with photos and applauses with a politician.
Often you don’t even get to that point. And if you get, rather than something sweet, it will be remembered as something bittersweet if you never get to really succeed or if you stop trying. Nobody comes to pat on your back if there is no picture or trophy.
At the end of the event I witnessed two things that touched my soul because I could not avoid feeling identified.
The first was a teenager, one of the winners of the various competitions at the Summit. I saw him by coincidence, leaving the event. Alone. With a trophy in his hands (one plant in a pot) but the in biggest anonymity. I know how it feels like to receive the pat on the shoulder by a politician for a photo with a lot of applauses and, minutes later, returning to anonymity. I hope he makes it well. For sure if he works hard, he will go far. Good luck boy.
The other was meeting some boys who were at the event next to our stand. Very young but also very motivated with their project, an online socks shop. They ended up confessing that, seeing the stage next to us was empty, with total shameless, they mounted their stand for free during the three days the Summit lasted. Well, about 15,000€. As we say in Canary Islands, “by the face”.
And that’s why you don’t ask for permission for a kiss. A kiss must be stolen.
My sincere support for these Valencians who reminded me that this is a world in which if you don’t risk, you don’t win, and at least from my side, they gained my sympathy and support.
A world for brave people who fight with a sword and a shield in an era of drones and missiles. 300 Greeks against thousands of Ottomans. Without help, without support. Only Summits.
From within an institution I attempted to help to improve things, really. Even at the minimum level and while I could, I think I contributed something. Meanwhile, in my spare time, I’ll keep on drawing sounds.
“Don’t try it, do it”